Spouses of Nairobi gubernatorial candidates share their plans for the city

Susan Mboya, the wife to Nairobi ODM candidate for the governor seat. Photo: David Njaaga: Standard

Susan Kidero

Although as First Lady I do not have a budget of any sort, I have used the platform that comes with this position to convene and bring together like-minded parties in public-private partnerships to create initiatives that benefit the people of Nairobi.

I have worked with the Nairobi County Executive for Education and brought in private sector partners to create a program called “No Child Left Behind”, to bring affordable education and home based support to pre-primary and primary school children in the informal settlements.

I worked with the Nairobi County Executive for Health to introduce a series of maternal health camps focused on bringing practitioners, equipment and medication and teaching about maternal health to mothers in the informal settlements. We were able to get donations of medication and equipment from local organizations amounting to millions of shillings.

Working with the County Executive for Environment, we initiated a series of clean ups across the city including at some of the city markets (eg Gikomba) and the Nairobi River. I was instrumental in securing technical assistance required to conduct an assessment and to secure funding for experts to create a plan for the rehabilitation of the Nairobi river and its environs including an environmental impact study and recommendations for industries based along the river, who contribute to its pollution, for health-related issues as well as development of empowerment opportunities for women and youth.

I convened the first ever forum for county first ladies bringing together the First Ladies of all 47 counties as well as development partners like USAID, and parastatals like the Women's Enterprise Fund to define possible avenues for collaboration at the county level.

In my next tenure as the First lady, I intend to work on:

Women empowerment: I strongly believe that women are the cornerstone of any society. I believe that an untapped opportunity for us in the urban centres of Nairobi is to train women to create value-added products for export. I would work with my contacts overseas to find people who can train our women on developing goods for the international markets and then also work with the appropriate government officials in commerce and in foreign affairs to help find creates and markets for our local goods and services.

I would also like to work to encourage and support women to seek and get their fair share of the government tenders. Women are often intimidated by the requirements not realizing that they can request and get waivers on some of the requirements and fees. Often lack of access to funds is an issue. I would encourage the County to reward businesses and banks that reduce barriers such as collateral requirements for women to get access to capital.

Education: There are tremendous disparities in the educational opportunities for children across Nairobi. Through the programs I founded, I believe we have demonstrated that when we can remove the barriers to a quality education, any child can excel in any environment. I would like to take the successful "no child left behind" initiative that we piloted in Mukuru, and roll it out across all of Nairobi bringing together partners from the private sector, government and NGOs.

Environment: The issue of environment is a critical one and it cannot be resolved unless Nairobians change their habits which will require a collective effort and education. I intend to expand on the work that I have started on the Nairobi River. On the issue of clean ups I will be looking to involve the private sector to have its associates volunteer and play a role, and help to fund a recycling and no littering campaign. As part of this effort I will also be looking to create partnerships for beautification of the city.

Youth empowerment: Nairobi youths have a combination of a strong desire to succeed, pragmatism and "street smarts", from living in a fast-paced environment, a natural curiosity and exposure to great ideas that makes them among the most intelligent and entrepreneurial generation that we have ever seen. I believe that with the right support and encouragement we can unlock the tremendously potential of our youth.

Primrose Mbuvi

Primrose Mbuvi (right), the wife of Jubilee candidate for Nairobi governor seat Mike Sonko (left). 

As First Lady, I want to see a city with an efficient and reliable healthcare system. I want our county government to invest in building and equipping new healthcare facilities at the ward level, while expanding the existing ones to meet the threshold set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

I expect my husband's administration to bring maternal health services closer to the people, and ensuring 24-hour emergency services for our mothers.

I want to see his county government give priority to creating economic opportunities for our youth and provide incorporate VCT services in all health facilities. This matched with targeted awareness campaigns will go a long way in combating the spread of HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections.

I would like also the county to invest in caring for those infected, while establishing rehabilitation centers for those afflicted by drugs and substances abuse.

Water and sanitation: In accordance with constitutional provisions and our by-laws, I expect my husband to guarantee efficient and timely garbage collection and disposal.

He should also invest in expanding the water distribution infrastructure to meet the demands of the growing city population and employ new techniques of water harvesting, recycling and strategic boreholes, to reduce over dependence on Ndakaini dam.

Gender equality: As the mother figure of our county, and building on my rich history of standing for and empowering women, I expect my husband to give more opportunities to our women, not only in employment but also in procurement and proving a friendly business environment.

Women remain the cornerstone of any society, and I would like to see the governor establish a support service for all our single mothers to ensure they are able to feed, clothe and educate their children given the extra challenges they face.

I would want to see the county government include treatment and psycho-social support for victims of Gender Based Violence at least at every sub county hospital. This will ensure access and affordability for the victims.

Child rights: There is an unprecedented increase of street children and families showing an underlying problem that needs to be addressed.

Many children from poor households drop out of school for varied reasons. Being a father, my husband has and continues to provide financial support and safe environment that ensure all our children get basic primary and secondary education, while supporting those in colleges and universities to improve the quality of our labour.